Moms Can Improve Their Financial Situation Post Pandemic
It’s been two years, and the world is not the same anymore, especially for women and the money challenges they face. While the pandemic’s impact on employees worldwide has been different, many working mothers have been left to adapt to the new reality. Many of them were forced to leave their employment or reduce the number of hours they worked due to the closure of schools and daycare centers.
According to the data featured in unwomen.org, by the year 2030, for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 in extreme poverty, there will be 121 women aged 25 to 34 in extreme poverty. Crises such as this worldwide pandemic are not gender-biased, and because of this, more women are pushed into extreme poverty than men. This downfall of women’s economy is happening because of the poverty surge the pandemic has induced.
COVID-19 has rolled back on all the gains that women’s economy made in the past few decades, turning back the clock and increasing the gender pay gap even more than it used to be.
Most working moms are saddled with full-time employment and family care as a result of the pandemic. The weight of the unsupported paid and unpaid duties has an adverse physical and mental effect on women. Not to mention the women who are the primary caregivers or head earners have suffered the most. Women spend approx 4.1 hours every day on unpaid work, while men only spend about 1.7 hours per day.
Let’s see a few steps that governments, businesses, and families can take to reduce COVID-19’s adverse economic effects on women. So here are ways how working Moms Can Improve Their Financial Situation Post Pandemic:
Reduction of the gender pay disparity
Payday for both men and women is something to look forward to. The paycheck being credited into the account brings a sense of joy, relief. But sometimes, for women, it can also feel unfair. That paycheck shows the differences and inequalities that women are subjected to.
According to another report provided by unwomen.org, globally women earn 84% of what men make. The disparity is even more if the woman is an immigrant or of a different race, color, or has children.
Let’s see a few points that may help bridge the gender pay gap:
- Closing the pay gap between men and women necessitates a combination of policies that promote decent work for everyone. Some of these policies encourage the formalization of the informal sector by putting undocumented employees under the protection of the law and empowering them to defend their rights better.
- Minimum living wages, also known as wage floors and universal social safety, are two of the most effective and quickest approaches to closing gender pay inequalities. Minimum living wages and social safeguards would benefit women more than males because women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs.
- A vital component is ensuring workers’ ability to organize and negotiate collectively. Women must participate in corporate and union leadership and enable legislation that creates complete frameworks for workplace gender equality.
- In some organizations, women aren’t even allowed to talk and discuss their plans and ideas with their peers and colleagues. The focus on promoting working men is more than on promoting working women. Women should be given this opportunity to express their thoughts and plans that could help further the growth of the company they work for.
Support for working mothers
Giving support and backup to working mothers should be considered the bare minimum.
Let’s see some points to change that:
- Women should receive direct income assistance: Introduction of economic support packages for vulnerable women and their families, like direct cash transfers, more unemployment benefits, tax breaks, and expanded family and child benefits.
Giving direct cash transfers, meaning giving cash directly to poor or low-income women, can be a lifeline for those struggling to afford day-to-day necessities during this pandemic. These policies would provide women with the immediate assistance they require.
- Help make an excellent work-life balance for women: All primary caregivers should have paid leaves and flexible working hours. Working mothers should also be provided with child care services at their workplace.
- Business support for women-owned and led firms: Women-owned businesses should be eligible for targeted grants and state-backed loans. Incentives for women-led businesses should include reduced taxes and sourcing food and other essentials from them. Economic relief should also target industries and sectors with a high female workforce.
- Support from their family members: Women are expected to do a lot for their families, and they do. They have a lot of responsibilities, and they have to take care of their family. If the able members of the family help and support them in any way they can, they should.
By doing so, they help lessen the burden the women carry. Working and taking care of their family simultaneously, both physically and mentally, stresses them, and it is a small effort to help prevent them from burning out.
- Helping them educate themselves about their finances: Women still struggle to talk and discuss money and their finances in this day and age. Communication is the best way to promote financial education in the strained population.
Low risk or risk-free programs should be developed to help women understand and better grasp their financials. Women should also be guided on how to manage their debts. They should be informed about several debt relief programs such as credit card consolidation, payday loan consolidation, or medical bill management programs. By using these programs, they will be able to reduce their multiple unsecured debts and save more on interest payments.
Steps working mothers can take to improve their finances
- Ask for a raise. Asking for a raise can be uncomfortable, but with the financial crisis and raging pandemic, the least your employers can do is grant you a raise.
- Ask for paid child care. Mothers don’t just need time at this point in the pandemic; they also need money. They could utilize whatever they see fit for their family, such as child care, tutoring, or to sustain themselves while on unpaid leave.
- Ask for flexible working hours. More manageable working hours may help working mothers handle their day-to-day duties more efficiently, take care of both families and work properly.
- Do work from home. With massive unemployment surges post-pandemic, it’s better to look for jobs that allow work from home, and it’s preferable if they provide flexible hours or part-time employment.
During the epidemic, an alarming number of disproportionately Black or brown moms had to give up their occupations to care for their children. It would benefit them — and employers — if corporations rehired them, and tax breaks may provide an additional incentive to do so.
In the end, closing the gender pay gap is critical. And it starts with passing laws and regulations that ensure equal pay for equal labor and stops undervaluing women’s contributions. Extraordinary economic measures have already been taken, but few assist families juggling paid and unpaid employment, as well as child care requirements.
Citizens and workers should be more involved in public initiatives to promote gender equality in caregiving and domestic work. Family members should also make an effort to help and support their primary caregivers as much as they can.
It is difficult for women living in a man’s world to grow to their full potential. However, every step taken to further the growth of women in this world is one more step towards equality.
About The Author: Lyle Solomon is a principal attorney for the Oak View Law Group in California, where he specializes in consumer finance. He has also written several articles on financial well-being. Connect with him on LinkedIn or tweet him at @lyle_solomon.